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Coach Louise and Coach Julie

Dear blog reader,

Coach Louise began this blog with the intention that it be a place to share stories, ask questions, get support in a safe place of understanding and compassion, as well as a source for information on the topic of infertility, miscarriage, treatments etc. I am so excited to be taking over the administration of the blog and continuing on the mission of supporting you on your unique fertility journey. If you’d like to know more about me and what I offer, please click About Julie or visit Whole Vision Coaching. I’m so glad you’re here. Most importantly, I really want you to understand that you are not alone and this part of your adventure does not define who you are.

Having experienced the frustrations of unexplained infertility personally, I recognize that the experience can be isolating when the people around you don’t necessarily understand what you are going through. It is also often the first crisis couples come up against where there is really no control over the outcome. I want to connect with you and give you as much support as possible to lead a life full of joy and balance no matter the outcome of your pursuit of parenthood. I can also help to guide you and propose different alternatives that you might not have considered yet from a purely objective point of view.

Ultimately, I can offer you a space like a comfy sofa that you can fall into to feel comforted and reassured and so much more while on this unexpectedly challenging journey.

With love,
Coach Julie

Male Infertility Cause – Vitamin D and low Folate…. curiouser and curiouser

Hi everyone,

I was doing some research and found an interesting article from an Australian website.  Whats interesting is that the men have low folate and high homocysteine levels,  they don’t mention the gene mutation of MTHFR, which men can have too.  MTHFR gene can lower the ability to turn folate into an amino acid which helps to lower homocysteine.  This is a known cause of infertility in women.  Interesting…? The status of this blog

 http://www.news-medical.net

‘Australian fertility experts say a dose of daily sunshine could help men with fertility problems and they suggest couples struggling to conceive should consider getting out in the sunshine more often.’

According to Dr. Anne Clark, the medical director of the Fertility First assisted reproduction clinic in Sydney, blood tests of 794 men who visited the unit found more than a third of them had vitamin D deficiency – they were also found to be deficient in folate and had elevated levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood associated with cell toxicity.

While previous research has shown vitamin D, produced from natural light and found in oily fish and eggs, is important for a healthy pregnancy, this latest research shows a deficiency may also affect sperm.

Dr. Clark says the results show lifestyle changes can be beneficial and just spending ten minutes outside in their shirt sleeves would be enough of a boost along with giving up smoking, losing weight, and reducing caffeine and alcohol intake.

Dr. Clark says the vitamin D deficiency could have been caused by worries about skin cancer and by men trying to avoid too much exposure to sunshine.

A group of 123 men agreed to make the changes, and to also take multivitamins and antioxidants for two to three months, after which time tests revealed ‘an improvement in the shape of the sperm which saw a 75% reduction in the level of sperm fragmentation among the 123 men and 31 of the men went on to achieve a pregnancy.

Dr. Clark says the results clearly show that lifestyle changes and dietary supplements can be beneficial for the conception of a healthy on-going pregnancy.

Dr. Clark presented the paper to Fertility Society of Australia conference in Brisbane – the research is part of a study by University of Sydney doctoral student Laura Thomson who is investigating DNA fragmentation of sperm, a significant factor in male infertility which is most often the result of cellular damage resulting from infection, smoking or advanced paternal age.

Dr. Clark says their findings support a European study earlier this year that showed women’s vitamin D levels strongly correlate with their ability to conceive.

She says vitamin D and folate deficiency are known to be associated with infertility in women, but the outcomes of the screening among men in our study group came as a complete surprise.

Among the group of males tested, 40 pregnancies had been achieved, with more than half of those pregnancies occurring naturally or with minimal intervention such as intrauterine insemination and with only three miscarriages (6%) compared to an average 22% miscarriage rate among women using fertility treatment.

Dr. Clark says the findings could have major implications for the costs of fertility treatment as one in six Australian couples experiences infertility – a blood screening test costs about $450 while a cycle of IVF treatment is about $4,500.

The MTHFR Tutorial – genetic mutation and cause of miscarriage

Its not as bleak as it seems...

Its not as bleak as it seems…

Hi to all fellow Fertile Myrtle Wannabe’s
I found this post on www.FertileThoughts.com  forum where Charity kindly put together this information on the MTHFR Gene Issue.  It is certainly pertinent to my journey not only from the point of view of my infertility issues but also because I am a migraineur.  It might be pertinent to your journey, so have a read.   This is particularly interesting if you have miscarried, and are not sure of the cause.
in the interests of babymaking,
Coach Louise
MTHFR Tutorial

I’ve recently been diagnosed with having the homozygous C677T MTHFR mutation and have found various information on the subject. I was hoping this might help others that are looking for the majority of the information available in one reading…I needed to put together something to send out to my family to ensure they all got tested, so thought I’d share here. I have borrowed much of this from others, so if some sounds familiar, you likely have read it either here or on other forums. Best wishes to those who have recently been diagnosed. For those who have experienced losses, I hope your recent diagnosis and treatment proves to be the answer to your prayers. I am hopeful it’s the answer to mine and dh’s. All my best!

MTHFR Gene Mutation

What is it?
The gene MTHFR (Methylenetetrahydofolate Reductase) encodes the protein MTHFR. Its job is to convert one form of folate (5,10-Methylenetetrahydofolate) to another form of folate (5-Methyltetrahydrofolate). 5-Methyltetrahydrofolate is used to convert Homocysteine (a “bad” amino acid) to Methionine (a “good” amino acid). Therefore, if MTHFR is not doing its job as well, homocysteine will not be converted to Methionine and will be elevated in plasma. Elevated Homocysteine has been associated with a variety of multi-factorial diseases.

Essentially what this means is that the genes that instruct MTHFR to convert homocysteine to Methionine are mutated and may not be capable of doing this important function. MTHFR is an enzyme that converts Homocysteine to an essential amino acid (Methionine). When the genes are mutated you may be lacking this enzyme. Your Homocysteine levels can possibly climb making the blood clot. Some doctors don’t check for the MTHFR mutations and rely only on homocysteine levels. This isn’t as reliable as testing for the mutations, because Homocysteine levels fluctuate (if you catch your level on a normal day, you may go undiagnosed).

What Type Do I Have?
With MTHFR, there are two different genes identified for this mutation, and it’s possible to be “heterozygous,” “compound heterozygous,” or “homozygous.” The MTHFR gene mutation has varying degrees of possible implications. The order of potential severity from most to least is:
1. C677T & C677T (Two C Copies – C677T Homozygous)
2. C677T & A1298C (One Copy of Each The C & A – Compound Heterozygous)
3. C677T (One C Copy – C677T Heterozygous)
4. A1298C & A1298C (Two A Copies – A1298C Homozygous)
5. A1298C (One A Copy – A1298C Heterozygous)

The MTHFR mutation is fairly common in the general population. Approximately 44% of the population is heterozygous and another approximate 12% are homozygous for the MTHFR mutation. Compound heterozygous and homozygous MTHFR have the highest incidences of being linked to implantation failure, late term miscarriages, specific birth defects and overall vascular health. Whichever type of MTHFR you have, it should not be discounted, particularly if there is a personal or family history of any such incidences.

What Are the Implications?
Any and all of the mutations can affect homocysteine levels, but there is much dispute as to whether elevated homocysteine levels are actually needed in order for MTHFR to cause medical complications. Many other MTHFR patients have normal homocysteine levels; yet have had implantation problems, m/c(s), and/or stillbirth(s) due to clotting problems. So it is important to find out your Homocysteine levels (although again, normal doesn’t necessarily mean all is well). This is a serious field and MTHFR is a serious condition, so consulting an expert is wise.

Research shows that high homocysteine levels and/or those with the mutation show a higher propensity for thrombosis (blood clots), arteriosclerosis (hardening of arteries), Alzheimer’s, stroke, heart attack, Fibromyalgia, migraines (especially with “Aura” migraines), osteoporotic fractures, bone marrow disorders and for those of child bearing years, it has found to be connected to higher incidences of down’s syndrome, spina bifida, other neural tube defects, trisomy, miscarriage, stillbirth, implantation failure, placental abruption, preeclampsia, higher incidences of autism, amongst others. Additionally, if you test positive you may want to have your parents, siblings, and any children you may already have tested, as well. There are a few positives to this disorder. Because folate is necessary for cellular division, there is support that shows having this disorder can actually help keep certain types of cancer cells from multiplying as rapidly, so there are some benefits from having this mutation.

Treatment?
Many doctors prescribe Folgard, which is a prescription vitamin supplement containing high levels of folic acid, B12 and B6. These vitamins are what the body essentially needs to convert Homocysteine to Methionine. To put this into perspective, the average multivitamin contains 400 mcgs , most prenatals have 800mcgs of Folic Acid (200% of the normal daily value). Those that are compound heterozygous and those that are homozygous for the mutation are recommended taking 5 mgs. of Folic Acid/B vitamins (12 times the average multi-vitamin and 6 times more than prenatals). It is also recommended to begin taking a low dose (LD) aspirin (81 mgs) once a day, every day, for the rest of your life.

For those undergoing fertility treatments, often times the treatment includes Lovenox (low molecular weight heparin) or Heparin (both are anti-coagulants) during the cycle. If you have a history of implantation failure or early miscarriage, it is becoming more acceptable to use the protocol established by the well-respected Reproductive Immunologist Dr. Beers by beginning Lovenox (40mg/once a day) on cycle day 6 and continuing throughout the cycle. If pregnancy is confirmed, this dosage is likely increased (Typically up to 40mg/twice a day, but potentially higher doses are prescribed dependent upon blood work results since homocysteine levels tend to increase with pregnancy) and usage continues throughout your pregnancy. Approximately two to four weeks prior to birth, the patient is converted to Heparin and continues to take an anti-coagulant for another 6 weeks postpartum (typically switched back to Lovenox). During that time, you will typically be directed to take additional Calcium and Vitamin D, as anti-coagulants can cause bone loss (Heparin more so than Lovenox). Some doctors will recommend a bone scan after use is discontinued to ensure there are no bone density issues. While being treated with an anti-coagulant, you will typically be asked to discontinue taking the 81 mg. baby aspirin since the anti-coagulants will replace the need for the thinning property of the LD aspirin. The FDA has placed Lovenox in the pregnancy category B. Lovenox is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. It is not known whether Lovenox passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use Lovenox without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. However, many doctors believe it is fine to breastfeed for the 6 weeks postpartum while still receiving Lovenox.